Home Sports Oracle Arena was on another level during Warriors’ ‘We Believe’ run

Oracle Arena was on another level during Warriors’ ‘We Believe’ run

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			Oracle Arena was on another level during Warriors’ ‘We Believe’ run

If you think the Oracle Arena is lit for Warriors games now, you should have been there 10 years ago.

Prior to an eight-player exchange in January 2007 that reshaped Golden State’s roster, the season was playing out like many in previous years.

“It was just another typical Warriors season,” longtime season ticket holder Paul Wong said. “You just look forward to another year of draft picks. You always held your head up high and prayed to God that something great is around the corner.”

Several months later, Wong’s wish came true.

As Golden State won 16 of its last 21 games in the regular season to earn an eight seed in the playoffs, the rebirth of energy among the team and its fan base was tangible.

Dallas, the Warriors’ first round opponent, was then the hottest team in basketball. Its home, American Airlines Center, was heralded as one of the most raucous environments in the NBA.

But former Warriors shooting guard Jason Richardson knew better of the environment soon to be dubbed “Roarcle.”

“We knew we were going to beat them and they weren’t going to beat us in Oracle,” Richardson said.

Here’s what players, coaches and fans remember about the crowd in Oakland during the magical ‘We Believe’ run.

***

Kelenna Azubuike, Golden State swingman 2007-10

“It wasn’t surprising but it was really impressive. I came from Kentucky where they pack out every game. I’m used to playing in front of a lot of people. But we would go on the road sometimes and it wasn’t the same. There would be empty seats in arenas. You just kind of gain an appreciation for Dub Nation and the Oracle faithful and Warrior faithful. They would just show up no matter what. Even before the trade when we weren’t necessarily winning as much. They kept coming out, they would support us. It makes it fun. It gives you energy. You definitely feed off the crowd’s emotion and energy. We played with a lot of energy on the court.

Matt Barnes, Golden State small forward 2006-08 // present

On the environment during Game 3 vs. Dallas

“Man, it was electric. It still gives me goosebumps thinking about it. I didn’t come to any of the Finals games when they won a few years back but still to this day people say that was the loudest they ever heard Oracle. From the time we walked in for warm ups. For the crowd to stand the entire game, the electricity was amazing. You can’t talk, you can’t hear anything, you can’t even hear the music. That’s how loud the fans were. It was just an electric atmosphere.

“One thing being from here and around here, I just know this is such a great fan base. At that time, no teams out here were very successful but they were still very loyal fans. We took pride in being able to give the city the first playoff team in a long time. To really give the Bay something to get behind. It sparked the imagination of the country.”

Monta Ellis, Golden State shooting guard 2005-12

After beating Dallas in Oracle during Game 6

“It was crazy. It was like we won a championship. Beer poppin’, it wasn’t champagne. It was a lot of beer poppin’, a lot of music, a lot of excitement. It was crazy. I’ve never been to the Finals, never been in an NBA championship game but that moment I felt like I was part of one because that locker room was going crazy.

Don Nelson, Golden State head coach 1988-95 // 2006-10

I’m sure they broke all those records now with all the success they’ve had over the years, but that was something different for our fans. We really had something to play for. They all got behind us. The Bay Area has always had some of the best basketball fans in the entire league. Even when they had bad teams, they would turn around and support us. It’s just a special place. To give them some success following their team, that was really special for me.

Jason Richardson, Golden State shooting guard 2001-07

On the environment during Game 3 vs. Dallas

“You go out there during shoot around, most of the time the fans only pour in until about 30 minutes before the game. I’m out there two hours before the game and the arena’s sold out. The fans are standing up cheering. I walked out and I’m like, what is going on? The game don’t start for two hours and it’s sold out. They all had the ‘We Believe’ gold t-shirts on. In the warmups I couldn’t hear a friend talking next to me or a teammate talking next to me. 

Stephen Silas, Golden State assistant coach 2006-10

On the environment during Game 3 vs. Dallas

“Oh man. It was shaking. We didn’t really know what to expect. We knew that we were rolling and you could see some of the ‘We Believe’ stuff towards the end of the season. When we came in it was all yellow. It was crazy.”

Paul Wong, creator of ‘We Believe’

On the environment during Game 3 vs. Dallas

“It has never been replicated. The crowd ambiance – I would dare to challenge that it was right up there, if not louder than during the championship year that we witnessed two years ago. It was hair raising. No one sat down. The Warriors fan base was an intimidating force. When you hear of what Dub Nation is today, it stemmed from Game 3 of that playoff.”

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